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Volunteers needed for visitor center

Work crews are landscaping the Rotary Park at the new visitor center in time for opening day May 18. - Michaela Marx Wheatley
Work crews are landscaping the Rotary Park at the new visitor center in time for opening day May 18.
— image credit: Michaela Marx Wheatley

Opening day of tourist kiosk is set for May 18

Just as the tourist season kicks into high gear, visitors can soon make a pit stop at the new visitor information center on Highway 525 and Langley Road.

The opening date for the visitor information center is May 18.

“The long wait is finally almost over,” Nancy Rowan, executive director of the Langley Chamber of Commerce. “Based on the comments we received, the whole community has watched the seemingly very slow progress on this project. But now that the deck is on, the landscaping is progressing and the sign is up, we can see that it will soon be a reality,” she added.

The center is a joint effort by local chambers of commerce, Island County commissioners, the South Whidbey Rotary Club and Port of South Whidbey.

“They understood the vision and drew on the enthusiasm of a large group of community members to support their efforts,” Rowan said.

The kiosk idea was born with not much more than the wooden kiosk itself and the vision for a place where tourists could get island info. It has since morphed into a visitor center with a park and parking.

“So many visitors drive off the ferry with no plan other than driving off the other end of our island,” Rowan said. “Our goal is to head them down some of our peaceful side roads, make sure they take in some of our breathtaking views, shop some of the unique local stores and enjoy a wonderful meal — whether it’s sitting in a top-rated restaurant or dining on carry-out on the beach.”

Now, it is time to staff the visitor center with volunteers, said Sandra Villarreal, the kiosk manager.

“It will be staffed by Whidbey Island greeters, or WIGs as I like to call them,” Villarreal said.

“WIGs will be the ambassadors to the guests on our island and help promote all of the wonderful attractions available on Whidbey,” she said.

The center is looking for helpers who are old and new to the island, and say it’s the perfect opportunity to make a difference in the community and share with guests what makes Whidbey Island so special.

If you would like to become a WIG, there will be a training session at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 15 at the Langley Chamber of Commerce.

“Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community but

I can speak from personal experience that it is also a great way to find out what is going on in your community and become a part of it,” Rowan said.

If you cannot make it to the training, please call Villarreal at 360-320-3171 to find out about future training sessions.

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